MotoGP »

MotoGP Valencia: Tech 3 ‘Au Revoir’ for Smith, Espargaro

"It will be hard to say 'Au Revoir' to the crew on Sunday afternoon" - Bradley Smith.
Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will make their final appearance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team at this weekend's Valencia MotoGP.

Both are moving to the new factory KTM team in 2017, meaning the end of a six-year Tech 3 relationship for Smith, who first joined the French outfit in Moto2.

The Englishman has taken three Moto2 podiums and two MotoGP podiums at Tech 3, where he also finished sixth and top satellite rider in last year's world championship.

This season has been less rewarding, not helped by a serious knee injury during a World Endurance appearance in August. Smith is currently 18th in the world championship with 55 points, compared with 181 points at the end of last season, but is naturally sad to be saying 'Au Revoir' to a team he knows so well.

"After a long time together, this week will be my final outing with Tech 3. This season is my sixth year in this team and it goes without saying that it will be hard to say 'Au Revoir' to the crew on Sunday afternoon" said Smith,

"The guys who I have worked with have always done a great job, which gives me full motivation for Valencia where I really hope to end on a high. The back-to-back events went well and I scored some valuable points despite my recovering knee, therefore in Spain, I will fight to be as close as I can to the leading satellite position.

"2016 has not gone exactly to plan and it's a pity to be finishing the year much further back from where I wanted to be in the rankings. However, we never gave up and after achieving sixth in the grand prix 12 months ago, I am confident of a positive conclusion.

"I won the 125cc race in 2010 at Valencia, the year before I joined Tech3, and the venue has been good to me so I am very confident about scoring a solid result for my team."

While Smith was always contracted to Tech 3, Espargaro has been placed at the team by Yamaha since joining MotoGP as the reigning Moto2 champion in 2014.

The Spaniard is still chasing a premier-class podium, but spent much of this season as the leading satellite rider in the world championship - until Cal Crutchlow's run of form.

The Honda LCR rider is 17-points clear of Espargaro heading into this weekend's finale.

"It will be my last track appearance with Yamaha and the Monster Tech3 team after three really incredible years, with some great and some not so good moments, but I have learnt a lot in this period with a big group of professionals that have been like a family to me," Espargaro said.

"I'm really looking forward to enjoying this weekend where I will try to complete this adventure with a highly satisfying result. I like the track and I am happy about how I have performed there in the past, such as in 2015, which was a difficult year but I was still able to end up in the top five.

"Obviously, it's going to be difficult to repeat this, because the factory bikes such as Ducati and Suzuki, are much more competitive, and we are struggling a bit in a few areas.

"We will see how I feel with the Michelin tyres and if the weather does not interfere, then I want to have the best possible conclusion, but whatever happens, I will give my best as always."

Tech 3 also starts the final round with a 27-point advantage over Pramac in the fight to be the top non-factory outfit in the teams' world championship.

“We hope that the guys can clinch some valuable points so that the Tech 3 team can win the top independent team battle for the fifth year in succession, which is obviously very important for us," said team boss Herve Poncharal. "The Valencia event is always amazing and it is worthy of hosting the final showdown, therefore, we aim to put on a great show for everyone and give Brad and Pol the best send off that we can.”

Both Smith and Espargaro will then make their KTM debuts at next week's post-race test.

That will be followed by another outing for Smith on the RC16 at Jerez before the winter test ban begins, but Espargaro - like Jorge Lorenzo - only has permission from Yamaha to ride at Valencia.

KTM will make its factory MotoGP debut as a wild-card in this weekend's event, with test rider Mika Kallio.

Moto2 champion Johann Zarco and fellow 600cc race winner Jonas Folger will take over from Smith and Espargaro at Tech 3 next season. The rookies will make their M1 debuts at next week's test.




Tagged as: Tech 3 , Smith , Espargaro

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Smith and Tech 3 celebrate Misano podium (Tech 3)
Rossi at 2016 Monza Rally Show (Monster)
Marquez at FIM Gala
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith, Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sam Lowes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sam Lowes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Pirro, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Petrucci, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Petrucci, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


PatrickD

November 08, 2016 12:48 PM

"those satellite Yams are probably the best bikes, other than full factory, to be on" have you been following MotoGP AT ALL in, say, the last 12 months? That's a plainly ridiculous statement to make about the 2016 tech3 bikes.

PaleBlue

November 08, 2016 9:31 AM

Lots of eras coming to and end this weekend. Plenty of riders who have proved their doubters wrong in the last two seasons and some with things still to prove. It's a shame they can't all be on the podium but no matter what happens and how good they all are, there will still only be three up there. Let's hope next season can be, at least, as good.



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.